Rails Girls Summer of Code is a 3 months global scholarship that sponsors women to contribute full-time to Open Source Projects with the help of coaches and mentors. Since 2013, RGSoC has trained 145 students, raised more than 450.000 USD and created a community of over 800 students, coaches, mentors, supervisors and organizers.
My main areas of responsibility were operations, support, marketing, pr and multimedia design.
Aditionally, it was common to participate in other tasks, like testing the RGSoC Teams App or being part of the Selection Committee.
OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT
Remote community support in several timezones and platforms (students and sponsors)
Creation of guides for various purposes both internal and external
Optimization and automation of processes
Documentation on several platforms, including GitHub
MARKETING AND PR
Managing social media accounts
(in 2016 impressions increased 4x on twitter and 10x on facebook)
Crafting content fundraising campaign
Copywriting for blog posts and newsletters
Creation of the new Press Page, press releases and other content
Creation of images, infographics, gifs and video
Updating the website and restyling some of the pages
Making blog posts using markdown, HTML and CSS
Newsletters design on MailChimp
A small note...
More than everything, I loved working for RGSoC. It was an absolute pleasure working with this incredible team and having such a powerful purpose behind everything was pure inspiration.
I believe that the "people first" philosophy of the organization and the focus it has on being inclusive created this welcoming environment which allowed ideas to flourish and to be turned into reality. In the end, it didn't matter if the team was remote and working from different timezones: we kicked-ass!
RGSoC is intrinsically connected to its community. Each and every person who is part of the program is at least one of the following: student, coach, mentor (aka project maintainer), supervisor, donor and organizer.
This means that RGSoC's work is dependent on the support of the community at all levels. And if RGSoC wants to grow, the community has to grow with it and be actively engaged.
After 3 editions people and especially sponsors and individual donors might get fatigued or invest their money in another place. We needed to make sure everyone knew how important their support was for the program and the impact they had on the student's career advancements and in diversifying tech.
Just like any other organization formed by volunteers, RGSoC's team didn't have enough time to focus on social media and creating content. This was harming their reach and interactions on social networks, the number of visits to the website and preventing them from getting to a bigger audience of students, coaches, project maintainers, sponsors and individual donors.
The good news: RGSoC's community is awesome! RGSoC has one thing that many organizations wish they had: a supportive community that believes in them and in what they do. This could increase exponentially the results of our efforts if we, for instance, improved the content on social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA REBOOT
When I joined RGSoC, the team mentioned that they would like to improve our marketing and communications. I couldn't agree more! RGSoC is such a fantastic project that I believe it would benefit everyone to know more about it.
Looking at Twitter and Facebook, I realized that there was room for an improvement regarding the number of followers and he posts' engagement KPIs. Facebook was particularly underused, as the types of posts were mostly links and Facebook works best with a bigger variety of content, especially images and videos.
Even though I was present when we launched the crowdfunding campaign, I was only able to focus on social media when we launched the "Extra Week for Projects Submission" and "Applications are Open" campaigns. I followed up later on the crowdfunding campaign as you will see in the next section.
In terms of marketing and communication, each announcement requires multiple social media publications complemented with newsletters, blog posts and direct emails. These announcements had to get to as many people as we could, so I really wanted to do different types of posts.
Gif used on the 2016's "Applications Are Open" campaign.
Celebrating our record breaking number of applications.
"Extra Week for Project Submissions" gif featuring my cat.
"How can we make a big announcement bigger? What do our fans like to share? What have they been talking about and how can I play with that? What makes this more fun and surprising? What makes this feel more authentic? How can I translate the culture of the organization into this announcement?"
"Well, everyone loves gifs, why don't we just make our gifs?" And that's how I ended up in one gif and my cats as well. The first one on the left was published a day after this one. This idea came to me after receiving so many emails and messages about when the applications would be open that it just felt like we were in a running competition before we hear "Ready, Set, Go!".
Besides making a lot of gifs, I worked on some images and quick tutorials to post on twitter and facebook. I also adapted them to other dimensions to be used on blog posts and newsletters. Meanwhile the organization won a Ruby Hero Award and of course, we had to publish that!
Throughout the program we were careful to reply to all tweets and DMs on Twitter and the same applied to Facebook. Social Media is not just about making pretty posts nor to be speaking all the time, Social Media is a powerful tool to listen and understand what our community wants.
At the same time it was important for us to bring value to our sponsors and coaching companies, so I would create specific content to share on Twitter and Facebook. We wanted to avoid the regular image with the company logo, so we just engaged with them in twitter conversations or created special posts.
Replying to GitLab's tweet about sponsoring RGSoC and having submitted a project.
A special gif thanking Travis CI for their support and being a partner for the past 4 editions.
A collage of a series of posts about coaching companies. This one is from the GitHub offices.
At a certain point, our social media design got influenced by the crowdfunding campaign design, especially the colors. People responded very well to it and after one of our designers started to use it on the alumna blog posts, everyone agreed on making this change. The most amazing part is that there might be an important announcement about this...
A picture of the thank you board used to announce the Kick Off of RGSoC 2016.
RGSoC Class of 2016 Map of the students' locations.
RGSoC's 2017 Projects Submission phase gif (I know it's not about 2016 edition but it's one of my favourites!).
Social Media is also an incredible place to tell stories, and what better stories than our student's stories? Every time there was a worldwide event like the "Kick Off Party" or the "Day Off" I would collect everyone's tweets and add them to facebook albums and twitter moments.
I also made a selection of posts, from special events to everyday achievements and other moments the students and the rest of the community wanted to share with us. The result was the RGSoC 2016 Moments album and it was one of our top 10 posts in terms of engagement.
One of RGSoC's main goals is to tell the stories of the students to inspire more womxn to come to tech and open source. As the RGSoC 2016 was wrapping up, I wanted to honor that, so I put together a film of the 2016's program with some infographics, pictures of everyone involved, sponsors logos and even the thank you board. All of these tiny stories are part of a bigger story.
RGSoC 2016's Wrap Up Video!
RGSOC 2016's CAMPAIGN
In February 2016, the team published the first post for the fundraising campaign. It was inspired on the previous year's campaign and after the initial posts we also translated and published our announcement in over 20 languages with the help of the community.
Weeks later, we decided to re-activate the campaign in order to reach our goal of funding 12 teams. After some thought, I believed that we could go beyond on this campaign: we could gather in one place everyone who is part of RGSoC, — students, coaches, mentors, donors and sponsors, — we could show them that their support had an impact in the community and most of all, we wanted to thank them in a genuine and heartfelt way for their support.
And this was how the RGSoC's Thank You Board and the #diversifytech campaign were born.
RGSoC's Thank You Board "under construction" for the 2016's crowdfunding campaign (TY = "Thank You" in internet slang).
I started by designing the board on Illustrator, the content of each square and the coordinate with a syntax that was similar to Rails syntax: thank_you(xx,yy). Inspired by Anika Lindter's talk — one of the RGSoC's founders — I decided to include some stats regarding the current state of the art of diversity in tech and show how we all could change it.
The board would start covered in light gray squares representing all the people who have "coding superpowers" but didn't have the opportunity yet to code. The "</>" symbol in blue, red and yellow squares represented the percentage of men, women and non-binary people in tech.
As the board evolved the "/" would be replaced with our logo, symbolizing the transformation from "divisiveness" to "inclusiveness". At the same time, the squares would be turned into a beautiful scheme of summery colors, like a rainbow, representing the growth of a diverse tech community, a community that welcomes everyone, independently of their gender, the color of their skin, religion and so on.
The board and its 625 squares. The coordinates followed the Ruby on Rails syntax: thank_you(xx,yy).
The beginning of the thank you board with "</>" symbol representing the tech community and the percentages of men, women and non-binary people.
The board with all the colorful squares placed representing an inclusive, diverse and welcoming tech community.
I went to Leroy Merlin to buy a 1x1 meters wood board and printed a huge vinyl to stick on top of it. I also printed over 1500 squares just in case. I was ready to start the transformation!
The rules were: for each individual donation, I would write a thank you note for that person with the coordinates where the square was going to be placed. Then, I would take a picture of the card and send it via Twitter. At the same time, I would take a picture of the board with the new square to add to the stop motion video.
A close up of the Thank You Board.
Adding colorful squares to the board.
Writing "Thank You Sven Fuchs :) " as I did to the rest of the over 600 squares.
The same applied to sponsors, but instead of a single square, I would give them a group of squares depending on the sponsorship package. For the partners and platinum sponsors I would do special gifs. And square after square, picture after picture, the intro video for the #diversifytech campaign was made.
The intro video for the RGSoC's #diversifytech Campaign where we introduced the board.
During the following months, I played even more with the stop motion videos, turning them into gifs or even for some companies I would play with their squares and tweet them. Even my cat misplacing a square was a good opportunity to make more content!
A special gif for Google Open Source. They got the first row because Rails Girls Summer of Code is inspired on Google Summer of Code.
One of our individual donors helped complete a line, so she deserved a gif too!
Digital Ocean's thank you gif: squares mimicking a tiny wave going into our board.
I carried the completion of the board until the kick off of the summer of code, July 1st. On the top three layers that were red, I put the name of the teams and took a picture that I used on social media, the newsletter and blog post. The crowdfunding campaign was over and the summer of code began!
The Thank You Board Stop Motion from beginning to end!
RGSoC's Thank You Board with the names of the teams on the top 3 rows, the RGSoC's red rows.
The board was complete! Whohoo! And then I had to pick up all of those squares.
The results in terms of engagement and feedback were astounding! People and companies would tweet back, retweet and ask their friends to donate. In May, our impressions on Twitter reached a peak of over 36x relatively to the previous year. On the Outcomes section there is a more comprehensive analysis of all the results of this and other communication projects.
Some of the replies and retweets we got during the #diversifytech campaign.
The Thank You Board was built to get everyone together, and because Berlin is the place where RGSoC was founded, I thought that the best way to wrap up this year's edition was to send it back to Berlin where one of the wrap up parties was organized. It was amazing to see their tweets and pictures when they saw the board.
Anika Lindtner, one of the founders of RGSoC next to the Thank You Board.
A bit of the crew at the wrap up party. Time for the #FridayNightHug picture!
Anika talking about the program and someone very strong holding the board for a considerable amount of time!
SUPPORT AND OPERATIONS
I believe that good marketing is not just about ads, PR and social media. Every time a person interacts with your brand is an opportunity to create a new/stronger connection. Support and Operations are two areas where we can go beyond the work done on other channels, create customer loyalty and bring more value to the people who are using the products or services.
I was in charge of students' and sponsors' support during the program. I ensured everyone got quick replies, whether they were reaching us through email, facebook messages or slack; I also focused on automating repetitive tasks and create guides/documents that could be reused on the following editions.
I would try to go the extra mile so that the students felt supported and that the sponsors knew that we really appreciated them being part of RGSoC. For instance, I co-organized a remote meditation session with a Team in Berlin and a Monk in Thailand. I also helped create a bunch of newsletters to keep the sponsors updated and create communication channels between them and the students. I also helped create feedback forms and review the answers.
The tools we used were Slack, GitHub (for task management and guides), Trello, Google Docs, Dropbox, MailChimp and HelpScout. Besides all of this, I tried to create as many guides as possible about the areas of my responsibility.
RGSoC Day-Off Meditation Session co-organized with Thea from Team LoadToCode, with Monk John from Peace Revolution.
Connecting Students and Sponsors with this newsletter where companies could share with them tools, products, training sessions and other opportunities.
The app where I would spend most of my work day, Slack. Hundreds of fantastic people around here and many memories. And yes, it's blurred on purpose.
BUILDING A PRESS PAGE
RGSoC had a press page in 2013, however, it hadn't been updated and the team decided to remove it from the website some time after. In 2016 we decided to redesign it, create press releases and organize the content into new sections. We also created a press kit folder in Dropbox so that the press releases and other media (logos, images and videos) could easily be downloaded. You can check the page here.
Turning a draft into a web page.
BONUS: BEING A SUPERVISOR
When Anika invited me to be a supervisor I was so happy! The team I was supervising was a volunteering team from Singapore, Team Reactives. Tu An and Shwetha did the best they could to work on Sonic Pi while managing university classes and other projects.
The team was separated by 8 hours, as the mentor (Joseph) and me lived in Europe and the students and coaches (Arrchana, Vanchi and Stewart) lived in Singapore. We used slack, google docs and trello to communicate and manage their tasks. We also had team calls every two weeks and the coaches and mentor were really dedicated to making sure Tu An and Shwetha learned and had a great SoC.
I also had to check up on them on the Teams App and follow up on the RGSoC extra activities. I really enjoyed getting to know all of them, and even though there were some issues I believe we came through all of them as a team. I hope to see all of them in a conference and see Tu An and Shwetha kicking-ass!
Team Reactives: On top the students, Tu An and Shwetha, on the tiny pictures Arrchana (coach), Joseph (mentor), Stewart (coach), Vanchi (coach) and me (supervisor).
Overall I believe we can say that we were able to connect and involve the RGSoC community, while at the same time reaching most of our goals and surpassing incredibly the KPIs we had aimed at our social media accounts and website traffic.
Regarding Twitter, I am happy to say that in less than a year, RGSoC's account increased its impressions 3x and the number of followers by 41%. In May of 2016, the impressions broke all the records, reaching 36 times the impressions of May from the previous year, even though we had this peak in May and June, we saw an average growth of 84% in the rest of the year.
On Facebook, when we compare 2015 and 2016, the organic reach was up 6x and the interactions by 5.4x, even though the number of followers just 75%. The Thank You Board Campaign was mainly focused on Twitter, so it didn't impact our Facebook results. The top posts on Facebook were related to the launch of the applications, alumna interviews, albums of events during the program and useful tips for the summer of code.
Our website saw a rise in the number of new sessions (8%) and pageviews (19%), with a bounce rate lowering and returning visitors raising 65%. This might show that the work done to improve the website had some impact on our website users. I am also excited to say that social media became the number one source of user acquisition, having raised 204%.
Twitter Impressions and 41% increase of Followers
Organic Reach and 5.4x increase of Interactions
Acquisition via Social
Regarding RGSoC's goals, we broke the record number of applications: 92! It was a 53% increase versus the last edition. It might also reflect the fact that the applications post was widely shared, having had 9x the reach of the post on the previous year.
Even though we were able to sponsor 16 teams like we did in the previous year, our crowdfunding campaign was not able to avoid a decrease of 7,9% in the crowdfunded amount. There are many lessons to be learned here, from the timing of the Thank You Board Campaign, to the way we approached people and sponsors. We hope that the connection we created and the growth we had in terms of social media will help us get more funding for the following year.
(53% increase vs 2015)
(-7,9% decrease vs 2015)
WHAT THEY SAY
I met Ana Sofia Pinho through a common acquaintance who was a student and volunteer of our summer program Rails Girls Summer of Code. Throughout her work for RGSoC from March 1st to September 30th 2016, I had the opportunity to work closely with her as part of the team I managed. As part of her work responsibilities, Ana was in charge of marketing and PR as well as primary communication (customer support) with our students and sponsors.
Ana is a very creative and hands-on person. In her time as a team member of RGSoC, she created beautiful targeted content for our audience and was incredibly helpful and empathetic to everyone she communicated with, including students and sponsors. She loves helping people and always goes the extra mile to do so. She is able to work independently, and brings enthusiasm and dedication to her work.
I recommend Ana for a position in marketing, customer support, or anything that involves creativity and/or customer interaction.
Laura Gaetano, Core Organizer of RGSoC
This #RGSoC 2016 video made by @AnaSofiaPinho totally made me cry tears of joy at today’s event at @soundcloud. <3
@AnaSofiaPinho you make a lot of people very happy with your amazing work. THANK *YOU*, so much, for being part of this :)
Sven Fuchs, Founder of RGSoC, on this Twitter thread
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